Dana Milbank penned an ugly column yesterday in The Washington Post. The screed was headlined, "The Bernie Sanders spoiler campaign beings." Milbank, ever the clever journalist, announced, "And so today, I begin a new feature: the Spoiler Watch." click here
It's too bad this perfectly moderate, reasonable Democratic writer fails to respect people with whom he disagrees. He could have limited his column to complimenting Sanders for saying yesterday that we must defeat President Trump in the fall. Milbank could have banked some props by letting his words stand without spraying insult soon after offering this positive thought: Sanders "has succeeded in pushing the Democratic Party to the left, and his differences with Biden are less about ends than means," sometimes serious, sometime satiric Milbank wrote.
The author added, "As Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a Sanders supporter, said this week: "Bernie Sanders won the idea primary." Bully for Milbank. The big man acknowledged that the "Third Way" Democratic policies of the past several decades fail to meet contemporary needs. Sanders, who Hillary Clinton proclaims is not liked by many folk, pushed the party to back a $15 an hour minimum wage. Now, even Uncle Joe backer Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, supports this liberal position.
Instead of citing specific examples of how Sanders "has succeeded in pushing the Democratic Party to the left," Milbank slams the proud progressive for staying in the Democratic primary race, asserting, "Only ugliness this way lies." Sorry, Dana, but the ugliness is coming from educated, establishment Democrats such as Joe Klein and James Carville and you.
This is what the former Bill Clinton strategist said Tuesday night, as he dipped his opinion in a vat of Louisiana hot sauce. "Let's shut this puppy down." Carville, ever the colorful former Marine, was instructing Sanders and his supporters to fall in line and back Joe Biden now. click here
This is what Joe Klein wrote recently, telling Bernie supporters not to be stupid, as Klein says he was in 1968, when the Democratic Party backed the Vietnam War. click here
Bernie backers are not stupid. And they are not monolithic.
What's more, Sanders brothers and sisters rightly point to the Sunday night debate on CNN. It will leave Biden and Sanders facing each other candidate to candidate. This 90 minute debate will be the closest thing to a Democratic debate yet. It will let Bernie tell us what is important to a significant part of the Democratic coalition. It will also give Biden the chance to show he understands what Bernie has taught the Democratic Party, or not.
Democrats should not be the party of bullies, pressuring people to bend to the will of the apparent majority. After all, the Biden coalition picked Biden for a variety of contradictory and complicated reasons.
Me? I mailed in my Florida vote-by-mail ballot while Sen. Elizabeth Warren was still running for the Democratic nomination for president. Warren, I believe, also challenged the Democratic Party to dream big again, to get in touch with its F.D.R. roots again.
I hope that the Democratic Party is big enough to practice the politics of the possible for as many Americans as possible. And wise enough to adapt and continue fighting for what really matters to us.